Deciding how you’d like to benefit from solar power is the most important factor when choosing solar panels. Solar panels are available in a variety of sizes and power ratings. Some are best for portable use and some are best left where they are once they’re installed.
If you simply want to maintain a charge in your boat battery, a small, low-wattage solar panel may be all you need. For bigger applications, many high-wattage solar panels can be wired together to provide as much power as you could want.
Once you’ve decided what you want to power with solar panels, it’s time to figure out how much capacity you’ll need. Start by adding up the energy requirements for each appliance and other electrical uses. This calculation will determine the amount of battery storage you’ll need. The size of the solar panel or solar array will need to be large enough to charge that amount of storage during available sunlight hours.
Solar panels are exposed to all kinds of weather situations, so they need to be tough. Look for solar panels that balance durability with function depending on what you’re using them for.
Finally, decide what price you’re willing to pay upfront for the convenience and sustainability of owning solar panels. Getting your money back, through lower energy bills, for the cost of solar power installation can take a long time. It’ll take even longer if your solar panels don’t get used very often. On the other hand, if you’re replacing a gas-powered generator, the fuel savings adds up quickly.